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Pilot says solo adventure is a long awaited dream

Tracey Curtis-Taylor has set off on her 13,000 mile solo flight to Australia from Farnborough, following in the footseps of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson. She said the flight is the culmination of a 30 year old dream and "fulfilling a destiny which was always meant to be."

Pilot embarks on 13,000 mile solo flight in vintage biplane

Credit: ITV news

An adventurous British pilot has embarked on a 13,000-mile solo flight from Britain to Australia in a vintage open cockpit biplane. Tracey Curtis-Taylor set off in her 1942 Spirit of Artemis aircraft from Farnborough in Hampshire. She will fly across 23 countries, making 50 refuelling stops over the next 14 weeks, before finally arriving in Sydney on January 6 2016.

Ms Curtis-Taylor will follow in the slipstream of Amy Johnson, the pioneering British aviator who became the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia in 1930.

Credit: ITV news

More than 150 friends and supporters, including Prince Michael of Kent, The Avengers actress Dame Diana Rigg and Amy Johnson's niece Judy Chilvers, waved her off.

Credit: ITV news

Her route will take her across Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan, over the Arabian desert, across the Gulf of Oman to Pakistan, India and across Asia. She hopes to recreate the essence of Johnson's era of flying, with an open cockpit, stick and rudder flying with basic period instruments and a short range between landing points.

She is not unfamiliar with this form of flying. In 2013, she flew 8,000-miles solo from Cape Town to Goodwood, West Sussex, to recreate the 1928 flight of Lady Mary Heath. A small support crew will travel in a light modern aircraft to record her journey to Australia, and day to day news will be posted on an interactive website.


TRAVEL: M3 closed northbound between J5 (Hook) and J4a (Farnborough)

There are long delays northbound on the M3 following an earlier crash.

The motorway is closed between junctions 5 (Hook) and 4a (Farnborough) which may last in to the evening affecting those heading to the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham.

The diversion is as follows: leave the M3 at junction 5. Take the second exit on roundabout onto B3349 to A30 roundabout. Take the third exit onto the A30 (London Road) continue for approximately 6 miles to A30/A327 roundabout. Take the third exit onto the A327 for approximately 2 miles to re-join the M3 at J4A

Environmentally friendly Farnborough Airport

Farnborough is hoping to become the most environmentally friendly airport in the country.

The private airport often used for the executive jets of the rich and famous - is 40 miles from London and just off the M3 on the Surrey/Berkshire border.

It's brought in incentives to encourage staff to give up their cars and has banned the most noisy jets. But from people living nearby - the reaction is mixed.

Our Transport Correspondent, Mike Pearse, has been finding out.

Farnborough - the most environmentally friendly airport in the country?

Farnborough Airport Credit: ITV news

Farnborough is hoping to become the most environmentally friendly airport in the country.

It's banned the most noisy jets and is now giving all staff training sessions on the environment and tokens worth 50p a day if they give up their cars and use their bike or public transport.

Hundreds of solar panels and eco friendly runway lights have also been installed, along with a new fleet of electric cars.

There were 23,000 flights in and out of Farnborough last year. It is also home to the famous airshow.

Police investigate criminal damage of Abbey

Police are investigating following several criminal damage incidents occurred at St Michaels Abbey in Farnborough Road, Farnborough.

During the evenings from May 6 to May 8 a group of youths have accessed the estate and caused damage by throwing bricks at the historic lead-stained glass windows and hand carved oak doors.

PC Dave Carpenter from Farnborough Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The incidents are impacting on the monks’ quality of life as they have not been able to sleep due to how distressing the incidents have been.

“The youths have also chased sheep around the fields causing some of the pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

“I would ask that anyone with any information about these incidents please contact me on 101.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Dave Carpenter from Farnborough Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101 quoting 44150155970, or via the website


Highest gallantry medal for Hampshire soldier

Ceremony at Windsor Castle Credit: ITV news

A soldier from Hampshire, who risked his life to save others on the front line has been awarded the military's highest gallantry medal from the Queen - in a service at Windsor Castle.

Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey, who's 27 and from Farnborough, is the first living serviceman to receive the Victoria Cross for service in Afghanistan.

The Paratrooper from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, showed "complete disregard" for his own safety when his group came under attack from the Taliban. Lance Corporal Leakey's relative - Sergeant Nigel Gray Leakey - was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross in November 1945.

Farnborough Shop Watch goes digital

Farnborough Shop Watch Scheme has undergone a digital upgrade which will help to keep members of the public safe when out and about in the town.

With support from The Meads Shopping Centre, the system has been upgraded and all members have been provided with new handsets.

The new digital system will allow businesses and shopping centres outside of Farnborough town centre to join the scheme, allowing more information to be shared amongst businesses within the town.

The new digital system will keep members of the public safe when out and about Credit: Hampshire Constabulary

“It has been a partnership effort to ensure that the upgrade took place. Hampshire Constabulary alongside Rushmoor Borough Council, The Meads Shopping Centre and Farnborough Shop Watch all contributed to the cost the upgrade and the provision of new digital radios to the existing members and new members. The new digital system will greatly improve the communication between the partnership and members. This will help to ensure that residents and visitors to Farnborough have a safer shopping experience, no matter where in Farnborough they might be.”

– PC Dave Carpenter

Violent attack at Farnborough Station

British Transport Police want to speak to this man in connection with a violent assault Credit: British Transport Police

British Transport Police (BTP) officers have released a CCTV image of a man they are trying to trace after an assault on board a train at Farnborough railway station in July.

The incident occurred on-board the 6.42pm London Waterloo to Basingstoke service on Saturday, 5 July.

British Transport Police want to speak to this man in connection with a violent assault Credit: British Transport Police

"A 62-year-old man, from Farnborough, was travelling home from London with three friends. As the train pulled into Farnborough they were approached by a man holding an empty beer glass who began verbally abusing them. During the altercation the man struck the victim across the face with the beer glass, causing it to smash. He then continued to hit the man with the remaining broken glass, possibly cutting himself in the process. Other passengers intervened and the man fled the train at Farnborough and got into a taxi with two other men. The victim’s ear was almost cut clean off during the attack and he required multiple stitches at hospital. The unprovoked nature of the assault is of great concern and we are working hard to catch the person responsible and bring them to justice. Who is the man in the orange t-shirt? I believe he could have crucial information about what happened on that train, which will greatly assist our investigation. It is thought he has a broad Scottish accent, and may live or have connections in the Woking or Camberley areas of Surrey. If you recognise him, please get in touch. I am also keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet come forward to police.”

– Detective Constable Phil Bibbings, leading the investigation
British Transport Police want to speak to this man in connection with a violent assault Credit: British Transport Police

Officers have been pursuing several lines of enquiry, including viewing CCTV footage from on the train and at the station, leading to the release of images of a man they’d like to speak to.

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